Skip to main content
10:00 am
government accountability -- and david maurer with the government accountability office. thank you for your time today. that is all for "washington journal" today. thank you for turning in. later on, the house will be in at 12:00 p.m. for morning hours and then [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> here's a look at what is happening today. oming up, a look at egypt's
10:01 am
constitutional referendum. we'll have a live on c-span to at 10:30 eastern -- on c-span2. we will focus on two stay today. we're in columbus, ohio and later we'll of taped coverage of the meeting in north carolina. beckett's underway at noon eastern on c-span3. rely that 12:15 with a discussion on raising the medicare eligibility age. you can watch it on c-span2. >> we want to beat on every device or every person at every hour of the day. we're a mobile society. the challenge is to make sure
10:02 am
we're on pads, computers, phones, as well as in the traditional living room on the high-definition television screen. the other challenge is that spectrum is a finite resource and others want that resource. there's not enough spectrum to do all video by broadband. our architecture verses the irs -- they're system will always fail. you cannot do that. >> tonight, gordon smith at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. >> president obama was in
10:03 am
newtown, connecticut, last night to one of the victims of friday's mass shooting. he met privately with families of the victims and other first responders. he spoke about the inspiration in the aftermath of the tragedy and vowed to you as his office to prevent further mass shootings. other speakers include the connecticut governor, dan malloy. this is about an hour and 15 minutes. >> we needed this. we needed to be together. here in this room, in the gymnasium, outside the doors of
10:04 am
the school, in living rooms around the world. we needed to be together. to show that we are together and united. we gather in such a moment of heartbreak all of us here in newtown. we gather especially mindful of family and friends and neighbors among us. who have lost loved ones by an act of unfathomable violence and destruction. would gather to grieve together, -- we gather to grieve together, to care for one another, to weep and to remember, and to declare in our many voices that the darkest days of our community shall not be the final word heard from us.
10:05 am
we will sigh in our sorrorws. we will care for one another with our love and our compassion. in those early hours of the crisis, it became clear to we clergy and faith leaders here in newtown that an initial community response would be needed, that we would need to come together. and so we asked our first select woman and superintendent if it might be possible for the clergy to gather the community here at newtown high school, to continue and to begin what will be for many along journey through grief and loss. -- a long journey. we are not here to ignore our differences or diminish our core beliefs, which define our many different faith traditions, but to offer our love, care, and prayers to our families and our community.
10:06 am
we wanted to offer a our voices in the form of words from our sacred text and prayers from the depths of our being. but we also wanted to gather -- together together in silence. so, that is what we will do. we will have a time for sharing and for prayer, and also a time for silence in between, so that all of us can pray as we wish and think about what it is that is most important to us. now, there is a reason why all of the clergy are sitting down there and not up here, and we hope you don't get tired of seeing us take the long walk up to this podium. but we wanted to have a symbolic gesture that we
10:07 am
ourselves are with you and among you in these coming days. that we are all in this together. we want you to know that our care for this community extends beyond the halls of our various houses of worship and the people would then them. -- and the people within them. we are here for all of newtown. that means you from the catholic church, in the midst of your tremendous grief, there is our rabbi with the torah in hand to give you comfort and do what ever he can to support you in the coming days. and those of you from the temple, you have the services of a japanese-american minister and the songs of john wesley. we have muslim brothers and sisters ready to offer prayers
10:08 am
of comfort and acts of compassion. lutherans offering ministry of grace and jesus christ to independent christians and to others. and all of those willing to offer words and comfort to those of no faith. it seems now more than ever we need each other. we are all in this together. that is why we even have our politicians sit down there as well. it is a sign and a symbol and a reminder to all of us that we're in this together. so, now, let us come together. let us pray. let us listen. and let us seek the comfort of our various faiths, drawing from words and prayers.
10:09 am
if you're not come up for i am -- fear not for i am wit with you. be not dismayed for i am your god. i will strengthen you, i will uphold you with my victorious hand. god is with us. god's love unites us. god's love steadies us. god's spirit comforts us. blessed be our god for ever and ever, amen.
10:10 am
>> i offer you this prayer for my heart to your heart. on behalf of all of your children, all of your loved ones. the hebrew memorial prayer. please rise.
10:11 am
[singing in hebrew]
10:12 am
10:13 am
10:14 am
>> o, god, grant peace to the souls of all for love one's that perished in that horrible day.
10:15 am
they have gone to their eternal home. we beseech you. remember all their worthy and righteous deeds that they performed in the land of the living. may their souls be bound up. there is no death, just transformation. made the rest in peace. and let us say amen. please be seated. >> let us unite our hearts in prayer. o god of love and mercy, we come
10:16 am
before you this night with broken hearts. we offer you our tears and our pain, our anchor and our sorrow -- our anger. there is a whole so large we wonder if you can fill a as we grieve and mourn for those who are lost. each flight that is before us is a light that has been lost to our world. some money in a sense, so many brave. all we can do is throw ourselves upon your tender mercies trusting that you hear our prayers. we know those who are lost because they are ours, lord, not
10:17 am
names on some list but are mothers or sisters, or brothers or friends, kindred all because if we don't know them ourselves, we know somebody who did. and so we pray, lord, for all the souls lost and all the families and friends who are so torn by grief. for in this moment, we're all your children, a family related by your love. so help us to care for these families in their sorrow and for each other in hours. may feel the healing embrace of the neighborhood, a town, a state, a nation, a world.
10:18 am
help us to forever remember that we embrace the grieving as our own, and bring us together as one family to live together in enmity.nd and ma bus to share the lights that stand before us. help us carry them out into the world and share it with the world so in sorrow and so in need. we pray all of this in the name of your loved as we all say amen.
10:19 am
10:20 am
>> we invite you to join with us 23psalm "the lord is my shepherd, i shall not want. he maketh me to lie down in green pastures. .e restoreth my soul
10:21 am
i walked through the valley of the shadow of death, i will fear no evil for thou art with me. my rod and my staff comfort me. thou anointed my head with oil, my cup runneth over. goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and i will dwell in the house of the lord for ever." >> let us pray. god in heaven, we thank you for your presence with us here on earth. we know that the children who
10:22 am
were lost in this tragedy first belonged to you before they belonged to us. we commit their souls to you, to love the eternal care. we thank you lord that they are now in a place of no more sickness, no more sadness, no more suffering, and no more sorrow as there is finally no more sin in the presence of you, their savior and hours. as we leave the children that we have lost in your hands, we ask that all year grace, you would empower us to blass and comfort the children who are still here
10:23 am
in our hands. please be with them in a special way as they grieve the losses of siblings, and friends. life will never be the same for them. we ask that you would help these precious little ones to carry the spirits of their lost loved ones in their hearts as they go along living their lives to its fullest, according to your will for each of these girls and boys. we asked most of all that you would use us to be a source of healing in the midst of their wounds. that you would use those of us whose children are trying for hope as a source of your hopes in the midst of the
10:24 am
hopelessness, as you are the god of hope. replace their anxiety with your piece as you are the died of of peace. your power and most of all a sense of your care, not knowing what the future holds but knowing that you hold it, as you hold these precious little ones who were still with us today in your hands through our hands. we asked in the name of the one who said, unless we become like little children we cannot .nter the kingdom of god
10:25 am
assault childlike and not child in our behaviors and attitudes not only before others but before you come that we may look to you for better days ahead, and that we may fill out your purpose for us on this earth, for we pray all of this in the name of our precious lord and savior, jesus. amen.
10:26 am
10:27 am
[singing in hebrew]
10:28 am
[singing in native language]
10:29 am
>> in the name of god, the muslim community in connecticut and throughout the nation joins with our fellow americans grieving for those who died in this senseless tragedy and praying for them and their families. we ask god to grant those lost a special place in paradise alley ask their parents the strength to endure the unendurable. we seek the comfort of our creator and artificial divisions
10:30 am
of faith fall away to reveal a nation of mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters, sons and daughters all united to bring healing and a new hope. the koran tells us that god's mercy and compassion are without limit and always available for those who asked. god says, "when my servants question you about me, tell them i am near. i answer the prayer of everyone who calls on me. god says, "give glad tidings to those who indoor with patience who say, "we belong to god and to him we shall return."
10:31 am
chapter 2, verse 155-157. let us all of every faith and background pray for god's comfort at this time of tragedy. ease, barely. chapter 94. >> a prayer for the first responders. let us pray. many o holy god, many of them have been called into service when they were just children. they wanted to care for those
10:32 am
that were in need, lord. you gave them a gifts for their life to serve. to ask them to pay a high price for all the skills that they have been given and the strength that they had. you equipped them. you give them a willingness to learn, to train, to study. it gave them a willingness to serve in the middle of the night when the call would come in, and you give them the willingness to respond when this town needed them the most. we thank you for those in this town that responded but we thank you also for those throughout
10:33 am
the state that came when the need was given. ifts ank you for their gue and the strength and courage. we ask you to walk with them in the days ahead, to surround them with your angels, to give them people who will listen to their story, to listen to what they saw that was not for anyone to ever see. lord, replaced each and every one of these men and women in your care, but we will be faithful to them. we will care for them. we will continue to equip them, and we will keep them ever in our prayers.
10:34 am
10:35 am
>> for the mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and grandparents -- this is part of the sacred text. it was written as a letter to a mother who was mourning the loss
10:36 am
of fairchild. was adapted for this evening. "the loss of a child is heartbreaking and beyond the limits of human endurance. one who understands is assured that the child has not been lost but rather has stepped from this world into another and you'll find them in the divine realm. that we and shall be for eternity while in this world separation is inevitable and brings with it a burning grief. praise be unto god. turning our face to the everlasting kingdom and believe in the existence of a heavenly world. therefore be thou not disconsolate.
10:37 am
do not languished nor sign. h. education of fax the edsa soul.ion iaffects the >> that beloved child -- o, thou kind mother and father. i have been free from a small and gloomy cage and like the birds of the meadows have soared to the divine world, a world which is specious, and ever joyous and jubilant. therefore lament not and be not grieved. i'm not of the lost more have been obliterated and destroyed.
10:38 am
i have shaken off the mortal form and have raised my banner in the spiritual world. following this separation is everlasting companionship. thou shall find me in the heaven of the lord amherst in an ocean of light --immersed in an ocean of light. >> thy god, we call you by many names. great spirit, a higher power, divine one. however we address you, you are always father and mother to us all, and we are your children.
10:39 am
we are your family. we ask your blessing upon the counselors and clergy and all the care givers among us. they have great passion for what they do. when everyone does their passion, we arrive at compassion. and we thank you. we know that you are most aware of their needs. they become tired and sometimes close to burning our. how much we need one another. when you called jeremiah and all of your precious apostles and prophets, they hedged first. but each time they gave their
10:40 am
yes and followed you knowing that you are always among them, always supporting them. they were conduits for your eyes and ears and your voice and your hands. they were the clay knowing that you always were the potter and they were resilient in your hands. when jesus felt the need to get away for some respite, he went to the mountains or into the wilderness or out to the seashore, and the great numbers of people in need always followed. tired and drained as he was, he looked on them with compassion.
10:41 am
anoint all of your people, lord, all those who administer it to you as they ministered to one another and especially this week as the minister to the body, mind, and spirit to the whole community of sandy hook and newtown, a model for the nation, a model for the world. we thank you for the world's support calling, the mailing, texting their love and their commitment to be one with us. use them, lord. take the passion that each one it totallyansform an and completely into your spirit
10:42 am
of compassion. we asked this all, amen. amen.
10:43 am
>> new town is a place that loves children above all. families moved to newtown because we are a caring and loving community. we have great pride in our school. outstanding teachers and administrators to high achievement and great personal worth. power was not deserved -- the horror not deserve.
10:44 am
there is no blame to be laid on us but there is a great burden and a great challenge that we emerge whole. that these families devastated by harm know and trust that we love them and will do everything al.can to help them he i know that newtown will prevail. we will not fall to acts of violence. it is a defining moment for our town but it does not define us. we are newtown, a special and caring place. we are defined by acts of courage and acts of love and by our continuing commitment and love for our children and families.
10:45 am
it is my pressure to present governor dan malloy. [applause] >> pat, thank you for all the great work you have done for this community and the last three days into the police chief and to the superintendent of schools, a thank you for your great service as well and to all the first responders, thank you. when i came man to the hall, one of the first songs to be played on the panel was "amazing grace," which is fitting for any number of reasons. it has become an anthem for first responders. it has great words.
10:46 am
it also speaks of the power of faith. "amazing grace" was written by a former sea captain engaged in the slave trade. "iose profound words that once was lost and now i'm found" between us on a day like today, when we are called upon our faith. a faith so evident in this room and in this community at this time. a faith that is at its very core a gift from god. a faith in which we find comfort and hope and compassion. a faith in which we are given
10:47 am
the power to go on. to survive that which has befallen this community, these families, these spouses, that which has happened and is unimaginable and unthinkable and was never intended to be visited upon us here in connecticut or in newtown or in sandy hook. i choose to think about the fact that in the coming days we will officially enter winter. that is always to be followed by the spring. let me assure you that in winter each time i see the beginning of a snowfall, i will be thinking of those 27 soles lost just a
10:48 am
few days ago. each time the day gets a little longer, i will think and dream of the lies that might have been at the lives that were so full of grace. and when the flowers start to come out of the ground and when they rise up, i will now that we are in touch with those that we have lost in the last few days. we will go on. we will find strength. faith is a gift, as is our ability to support one another in our greater community. to all of you, i extend my most profound condolences on behalf of all of your fellow citizens from what you have seen, what you have witnessed, and what you
10:49 am
have experienced. we will move on. we will never forget. will be made stronger for what has transpired. we will get better. we are blessed today to have with us the president of the united states, who upon meeting with pat an i said the most difficult day of his presidency was friday when he heard the news of that which had befallen this community. i assured him that connecticut, newtown, and sandy hook are strong, and i welcome him on your behalf to our community. i now can choose the president of the united states -- i now
10:50 am
introduce the president of the united states. [applause] >> thank you. thank you. thank you, governor. to all the families, first responders, to the community of newtown, clergy, guests, scripture tells us, "do not lose heart.
10:51 am
though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly, we are being renewed day by day. "for light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all, so we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. for we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from god, an eternal house in heaven not built by human hands." we gather here in memory of 20 beautiful children and six remarkable adults.
10:52 am
they lost their lives in a school that could have been any school in a quiet town full of good and decent people that could be any town in america. here in newtown, i come to offer the love and prayers of a nation. i am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts. i can only hope it helps for you to know that you're not alone in your grief, that our world, too, has been torn apart, that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you. we've pulled our children tight.
10:53 am
and you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide. whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it. newtown, you are not alone. as these difficult days have unfolded, you've also inspired us with stories of strength and resolve and sacrifice. we know that when danger arrived in the halls of sandy hook elementary, the school's staff did not flinch. they did not hesitate.
10:54 am
dawn hocksprung and mary sherlach, vicki soto, lauren russeau, rachel davino and anne marie murphy, they responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances, with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care. we know that there were other teachers who barricaded themselves inside classrooms and kept steady through it all and reassured their students by saying, "wait for the good guys, they are coming. show me your smile."
10:55 am
and we know that good guys came, the first responders who raced to the scene helping to guide those in harm's way to safety and comfort those in need, holding at bay their own shock and their own trauma, because they had a job to do and others needed them more. and then there were the scenes of the schoolchildren helping one another, holding each other, dutifully following instructions in the way that young children sometimes do, one child even trying to encourage a grownup by saying, "i know karate, so it's ok. i'll lead the way out." [laughter]
10:56 am
inspiredunity, you've us, newtown. in the face of indescribable violence, in the face of unconscionable evil, you've you've cared for one another. this is how newtown will be remembered, and with time and god's grace, that love will see you through. but we as a nation, we are left with some hard questions. you know, someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of
10:57 am
your body all the time, walking around. with their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves, our child, is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice, and every parent knows there's nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. and yet, we also know that with that child's very first step and each step after that, they are separating from us, that we won't -- that we can't always be there for them. they will suffer sickness and
10:58 am
setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments, and we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear. and we know we can't do this by ourselves. it comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize no matter how much you love byse kids, you can't do it yourself, that this job of keeping our children safe and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community and the help of a
10:59 am
nation. and in that way we come to realize that we bear responsibility for every child, because we're counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we're all parents, that they are all our children. this is our first task, caring for our children. it's our first job. if we don't get that right, we don't get anything right. that's how, as a society, we will be judged. and by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we're meeting our obligations? can we honestly say that we're doing enough to keep our
11:00 am
children, all of them, safe from harm? can we claim, as a nation, that we're all together there, letting them know they are loved and teaching them to love in return? truly say that we're doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose? i've been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we're honest with ourselves, the answer's no. we're not doing enough. and we will have to change. since i've been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass
11:01 am
shootings, fourth time we've hugged survivors, the fourth time we've consoled the families of victims. -- console the families of victims. and in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and in big cities all across america, victims whose -- much of the time their only fault was being at the wrong place at the wrong time. we can't tolerate this anymore. these tragedies must end. and to end them, we must change. we will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. no single law, no set of laws
11:02 am
can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can't be an excuse for inaction. surely, we can do better than this. if there's even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town from the grief that's visited tucson and aurora and oak creek and newtown and communities from columbine to blacksburg before that, then surely we have an obligation to try. in the coming weeks, i'll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in an effort aimed at preventing more
11:03 am
tragedies like this, because what choice do we have? we can't accept events like this as routine. are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom? you know, all the world's religions, so many of them represented here today, start with a simple question.
11:04 am
why are we here? what gives our life meaning? what gives our acts purpose? we know our time on this earth is fleeting. we know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain, that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether it's wealth or power or fame or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped. we know that, no matter how good our intentions, we'll all stumble sometimes in some way. we'll make mistakes, we'll experience hardships, and even when we're trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent
11:05 am
groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern god's heavenly plans. there's only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have for our children, for our families, for each other. the warmth of a small child's embrace, that is true. the memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves and binds us to something larger, we know that's what matters. we know we're always doing right when we're taking care of
11:06 am
them, when we're teaching them well, when we're showing acts of kindness. we don't go wrong when we do that. of,'s what we can be sure and that's what you, the people of newtown, have reminded us. that's how you've inspired us. you remind us what matters. and that's what should drive us forward in everything we do for as long as god sees fit to keep us on this earth. "let the little children come to me," jesus said, "and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."
11:07 am
charlotte, daniel, olivia, josephine, ana, dylan, madeline, catherine, chase, jesse, james, grace, emilie, jack, noah, caroline, jessica, benjamin, avielle, allison, god has called them all home. for those of us who remain, let
11:08 am
us find the strength to carry on and make our country worthy of their memory. may god bless and keep those we've lost in his heavenly place. may he grace those we still have with his holy comfort, and may he bless and watch over this community and the united states of america. [applause]
11:09 am
[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2012] >> on behalf of the new town clergy association, we are so grateful to our president for spending time with us and for reminding us that we are not alone in this time of tragedy, that there is not just a country standing behind us, but a world standing behind us.
11:10 am
those words, i know they were difficult to hear for some, but brought much consolation to us all. i want to thank our governor and all officials that have been by our side since they won. they have been a remarkable reminder to us of their humanity and care for us. but most of all, i want to thank an incredible first select woman, who has led us through a dark time in our lives. [applause] the storms of the past year have ravaged our community without power for days. i thought those were the hardest days of pat's life. but what i saw her friday in
11:11 am
front of sandy hook school, i realize she had met the most dark days. we thank you for being leaders to us through these difficult times. and now, this vital part of our prayer is for us, the people of newtown. >> these are the words of the apostle paul as he writes to the church have grown -- at rome. "what then, shall we say in response to this? if god is for us, then who can be against us? he whose bear his own son will -- but give them up for all of us, how much more will feed do for icet? it is god that justifies. who is he that condemns? christ jesus, who died -- more than that, who was raised
11:12 am
to life -- is at the right hand of god and is also interceding for us. who shall separate us from the love of christ? shala trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger were stored? as it is written, for your stay, we face death all day long. we are considered as she to be slaughtered. in all these things, we are more than copper. afore i am convinced -- more than conquerors. i am convinced that neither daetz nor life nor the present nor the future nor hide nor death nor anything in all of creation will be able to separate us from the love of god that is in christ jesus our lord -- our lord. [applause] and so, we stand out in prayer for ourselves. and our hearts are broken, but
11:13 am
our spirits are strengthened by the power of god's goodness and his ever-creating love, and by the generous hearts of a community that truly cares. we have shown to the world our compassion. we have placed on our shoulders a burden of on a vaginal pain. we have put in resolving our hearts to make -- but on imaginable pain. if we have placed in our hearts a desire to make this world a place of life. we thank the committee leaders who have helped us walking a dark road to find a light. we praise you for men and women that you -- that in whose love for each other of created children and that we may guide them and we seek your wisdom as administrators and teachers continued to teach our children
11:14 am
ways to become productive and positive citizens of this world. we pray that this cultural depth of that is overshot owing to our entire country, especially now in our town, will soon be replaced with a culture of life that embraces every person with human dignity. we brought to you in a prayer tonight those who have been lost, those whose hearts are broken forever. we're bring you 20 new stores in the heavens, 20 new zayna's, 20 new angels. it would bring to those who risk their lives for us every day, not counting the cost. and we bring to you those who died, those who counsel, those who bless and embrace the confused and broken. an hour in this prayer, would bring to you ourselves, are broken as, or questions, our
11:15 am
belts, our anger and our hearts. and we pray for the peace and hope and the renewal of trust that can come only from a god who first conceived us in love and places a hand of compassion on each of our shoulders, even in this most challenging time. tonight, for our community, a community deeply pained, and we ask you to heal the broken s, to answer our questions, to replace our doubts with certainty, our anger with peace and our hurt with healing. god, we thank you for this town. we thank you for its people. and we thank you for this opportunity to stand together and not to fall apart. amen.
11:16 am
>> in our final blessing of hoping through the words of st. john and st. paul i heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "b hold from the dwelling place of god is with man. he will swell with them and they will be his people and got himself will be with them as their god. he wiped away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more. neither shall there be morning, nor crying, nor pain anymore. the former things have passed away. and he who is seated on the throne said, "and behold, i am making all things ." --
11:17 am
all things new." and now, and the love of jesus christ, the love of god, and in the commune in and of the holy spirit -- maybe love of jesus christ, the love of god, and the communion of the holy spirit be with you all. amen. i ask you to stay in your seat until i can receive confirmation that the president left campus. and i do not know who that confirmation is going to come from. but let me say, while we wait for that, i encourage all of your behalf of the town clerk shalik -- clergy, give to one another all the love and support that you can. clergy will be available for you at this platform, for a time of prayer, according to each of their teachings and belief. please remain seated and so i can receive the confirmation.
11:18 am
-- until i receive the confirmation. ladies and gentlemen, we have received the confirmation. give one another of those -- all the love that you can.
11:19 am
11:20 am
>> a live look at the u.s. capitol where fights continue to fly in half staff in honor of the new town connecticut victim
11:21 am
of shootings. the house gavels in at noon eastern for general speeches and will start legislative work at 2:00 p.m. a pair of bills on the calendar, including one in about gas drilling. the senate gavels in at 2:00 p.m. and will work on emergency spending for hurricane sandy recovery efforts. and in other senate news, south carolina gov. mickie haleigh will announce her choice to replace retiring senator jim demand. -- senator jim demint. we take a closer look now at how the alternative minimum tax would be affected by going over the cliff. >> as part of our series of dams the so-called fiscal cliff that is looming, we are looking at
11:22 am
different aspects of it. today, we turn our attention to the alternative is minimum tax and what could come from congress if they are able to work out a new deal. joining us to discuss is georgetown law's john buckley. thank you for being here. what is the alternative minimum tax? guest: in simple terms, the alternative minimum tax requires you to pay the greater of what you would pay under the regular minimum tax, or a slightly broader base. it would allow some deductions. in some respects common it is very similar to the tax on itemized deductions being discussed right and preferences and expansion -- rather than a kowt in the
11:23 am
overall expenditures. there are no new ideas in this debate. the captive bears a very strong relationship to how the alternative minimum tax works. host: here is form 6251 from the irs 2011 tax preparation here is part one, the alternative minimum tax income. how does this work? how do you know? guest: i believe that you can mulally do this with computer programming, the programs the tax preparers returned. if people had to go through and fill out all of the details, there would have been a strong revolt against the complexity.
11:24 am
it is extremely burdensome if you try to do it without tax return corporations. >> it gives us the history of the a.m. et. >> -- guest: in its current form, it was enacted in 1986. it had long term as robust minimum tax. it grew out of the fact that they were unable to directly reduce tax expenditures. they saw this as a feasible way of attacking what they saw as an unwarranted tax expenditures. they enacted in 86, just at the time when their fondest dreams were realized. it was a very serious tax
11:25 am
reform are really made their alternative minimum tax almost obsolete from the beginning. those denied after 1986 are those that people consider minimum -- middle-class standard deductions, state and local and property taxes. those are the may deductions. -- the main deductions. after 1986, the emt was not a factor. it did not apply to that many people. it gradually of -- gradually began to apply to more people. the real expansion of the a.m. et -- of the amt came in the expansion of the reductions. it has the desired rate structure. it's effective rates are higher than ordinary rates over a broad segment of income.
11:26 am
in 1997, they reduced the capital gains rate from 28% to 37% of people did rush out to take advantage of the reduced rates and sell their capital assets. many found that the reduction fell from 28% to 27%. the capital gains rate indeed amt is higher than the regular tax rates and incomes of around $200,000 to $500,000. and that was the first broad expansion in the amt that began to hit a lot of people. then in 2001, the reduced aggregator tax rates, but did not reduce the alternative minimum tax rates. the 2001 tax bill only changed
11:27 am
the name of the tax i paid. very little benefit from the rate reductions, because it was just shifted over to the minimum tax. in my opinion, the expansion of minimum tax has nothing to do with the absence of indexing. it is the result of that conscious decision in 2001 to hide the cost of the bush tax reductions by leaving the alternative minimum tax in place. host: the alternative minimum tax is 28%. you are saying that after 2001, if your tax rate was lowered to 25% or something, you still had to pay the amt, which is 28%. >> that is true, but you are wrong in that in comes from $200,000 to $500,000, the amt was 35%.
11:28 am
and you get the 35% in the amt at incomes that were far lower than what you would hit the 35% in the regular tax. there is a bizarre structure. host: why do they call it a patch? guest: because it is an ad hoc year by year expansion. you could ask, why do they call it a cliff? they have discussed this in terms of the patch. it has been a year by year increase in the exemption. the patch is nothing but an increase in the amt exemption to prevent tens of millions of people from being forced to fill out the return i you have listed there. the only thing that i would add is the catch, what makes this
11:29 am
so critical in the fiscal quick discussion is we are talking about the patch with a 2012, taxable year. unlike the rest of the fiscal cliff, which affects tax rates that will apply next year compaq -- next year, patch applies to the rates to all seek early next year. if there is not congressional action, then we will all see an abrupt increase in tax on the 2012 taxable year. in 2011, approximately 4 million people paid the amt. if there is not a patch, 30 million people will be required to pay the amt in 2012, for the current taxable year. and it will pay an additional $1 billion in taxes. very few of them have any idea
11:30 am
this is on the table host: is the irs prepared? guest: the irs took a fairly unusual, but i think, correct, opposition. they took the position that congress will do the responsible thing. they did their tax programming next -- for next year, for the 2012 return, assuming that congress would enact a package before the end of the year. i think that was the reasonable thing to do. i believe they will do that. however, it does mean that if there is not a patch, the tax return filing season will be quite the opposite. >> and a quick reminder that for all things related to the fiscal cliff, go to the special page at our website. there is a live twitter stream
11:31 am
and video of related events and resourced areas with documents and links. that is all aspects /fiscalcliff. today is the day when many electoral college's cast their votes for the president. who will be live in columbus, ohio as the state college and need. and a little bit later, we will have taped coverage of the meeting in north carolina. that is under way today at noon eastern on c-span3. we're also live with a discussion on raising the medicare eligibility age. you can watch that on c-span2. >> i think the challenge for us is that we want to be on every device for every person at every hour of the day. we are a mobile society. the challenge is to make sure
11:32 am
that we are on the paths, computers, phones, as well as traditional view in, which is in the living room now on a wonderful high-definition television screen. the other challenge we have is that spectrum is a finite resource and others want to that resource. there is not enough spectrum in the universe to do all video by broadband. our architecture of one to everyone on a location, obverses theirs,obversesversus which is one to one, it will always feel because of moving video from one to one. you cannot do that. >> a look at the communication industry with gordon smith tonight on c-span2. >> late last week, federal reserve chairman ben bernanke announced three monetary actions
11:33 am
to sustain the economic recovery, including guidance on how long interest rates will remain at record lows. this portion of the event runs just under half an hour. >> it has been about 3.5 years since the economic recovery began. the economy continues to expand at a moderate pace. unfortunately, however, unemployment is high. about 5 million people, about 40% of those unemployed have been out of work for six months or more. and millions more of that would like full-time work and have only been able to find part-time employment or have stopped looking entirely. the conditions now in the job market represent enormous waste of human because -- and economic potential. in return to broadbased prosperity will require sustained movement in the job market and that will require jobs -- economic growth. meanwhile, economic
11:34 am
fluctuations represent -- are redeemable by largely -- are represented by large swings in the marketplace. against a macro economic backdrop that include both higher unemployment and subdued inflation, the fomc will maintain its highly accommodative policy. today, the committee took several steps. first, it decided to continue its purchases of agency mortgage-backed securities initiated at the september meeting at a pace of $40 million per month. the second, the committee decided to purchase of treasury securities at an additional pays a $45 million per month after its current program is completed at the end of the year. in continuing its asset purchases, the committee seeks to maintain downward pressure on long-term interest rates and to keep financial conditions accommodative. thereby ensuring inflation is
11:35 am
close to our objectives. finally, the committee today, finalized its guidance about future rate policy to provide more information to the public about reacting to economic conditions. although the committee's announcement today specified the initial monthly pace and composition of asset purchases, it did not give specific date at which the program may be modified or ended. instead, the pattern of future asset purchases will depend on the committee's evaluation of incoming information in two respects. at first, we expect to continue asset purchases until week see an outlook improved in the labour market. in assessing the extent of progress from the committee will be evaluating a range of market indicators, including the employment rate, payroll, and a range of others.
11:36 am
because increase in demand and production are normally precursors to labor market conditions, we will be looking carefully at the peak -- at the pace of economic activity more broadly. second, the committee will be monitoring economic and financial developments to assess the efficacy and possible drawbacks of its asset purchase program. the federal reserve's asset personages over the last few years have provided important -- purchases over the last years have provided important support for the economy. for example, keeping interest rates low. the committee expects to keep this policy going and keep the risks manageable. will be regularly updating those assessments. if future evidence suggests that the programs affected as has declined, or potential unintended consequences become apparent, we will modify the program as appropriate. more generally, the committee teth -- intends to be flexible in
11:37 am
response to information about the outlook for the perceived cost of the program. unlike the expressively quantitative criteria about the guidance of federal funds rate, which i will discuss in a moment, the criteria the committee will use to make decisions about the pace and extent of its asset purchase program are qualitative. in particular, the continued asset purchases are tied to seeing substantial improvement in the outlook of the labour market. because we expect to learn more overtime about the efficacy and potential costs, we believe a qualitative guidance is more per britta this time. in today's statement, the committee also recast its forward guidance to determine how expects future to come about. federal rates are likely to
11:38 am
remain low as long as employment -- and unemployment remains over 6.5%, inflation is projected to be no more than half a percentage point over the long term goal and longer-term inflation expectations continue to be well anchored. this formulation is a change from earlier statements in which ford guidance about the federal funds rate was expressed in terms of the day. for example, following the september and october meetings, the committee anticipated that exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate are likely to be one -- warranted "at least through 2015." commodified -- the modified rate will maintain action and as long as is needed to support economic recovery. by tying future monetary policy more explicitly to economic conditions, this formulation of
11:39 am
our policy guidance shourd make monetary policy more transparent and predictable to the public. the change in the form of the committee's board guidance does not in itself imply any change in the committee's expectations of the likely future path of the funds rate since the october meeting. in particular, the committee expects the threshold for unemployment will not be reached until 2015 and projected inflation will remain 2% over that time frame. given the committee's current outlook, the guidance introduced today is consistent with earlier statements that exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate will be warranted at least through 2015. let me emphasize that the 6.5% threshold for the unemployment rate should not be interpreted as the committee's longer-term objectives for unemployment. indeed, the economic projections submitted in conjunction with today's meeting, the central tendency of estimates for the
11:40 am
longer term and an -- unemployment rate is 5.62%. the committee believes it likely will be -- will need to move away from a highly accommodative policy stance before the economy reaches maximum unemployment. waiting until maximum on a planet is a jeep before beginning the process of policy accommodation could lead to an undesirable overshooting and compromise the fomc's longer- term inflation objective of 2%. as the fomc statement makes clear, the policy under the guidance will be fully consistent with continued progress in unemployment and with inflation remaining close to the committee's objective over the longer term. although the modified guidance should provide greater clarity about how the committee expects to respond with the incoming data, economy and puts policy on autopilot. -- it is by no means put policy on
11:41 am
autopilot. the low rate policy is likely to be agreed at least until a specified threshold are met. reaching one of the threshold, however, will not automatically trigger immediate reduction in policy accommodation. the for example, if unemployment were to decline at slightly below 6.5% at a time that expectations were subdued and projected to remain so, the committee might judge that an immediate increase in the target for the federal funds rate to be inappropriate. ultimately, deciding when and how quickly to reduce policy accommodation will mean an following a balanced approach. the committee recognizes that no single indicator provides a complete assessment of the state of the labour market. we will consider changes in the unemployment rate within the broader context of the labor
11:42 am
market conditions. for example, in evaluating the given decline in the and implement rate, the committee will also examine the factors which would set as associated as opposed to increases in the number of workers and falling participation. the committee chose to express the inflation threshold in terms of projected inflation between one and two years ahead rather than at current inflation. the committee took this approach that -- to make clear that it intends to look through transitory inflation, such as those induced by transitory inflation and to focus instead on the underlying commodity trends. in making this charge and about the underlying inflation trend cannot -- in making this judgment about
11:43 am
the underlying inflation trend, the committee will consider the views of outside forecasters and the statistics of model and inflation. also, the committee will pay close attention to expectations in inflation to ensure that those remain well anchored. finally, the committee will continue to monitor a wide range of economic and financial developments to be sure the policy is conducted in a matter consistent with our dual mandate. it is worth noting that the goals of the fomc's asset merchant -- purchases are somewhat different. the goal is to accommodate rates. i would emphasize that a decision by the committee to end asset purchases, whenever that is reached, would not be a return to policy.
11:44 am
in that circumstance, the committee would no longer be increasing accommodation, but his policies dance would remain highly accommodative to growth. as i have discussed today, the decisions to modify the asset purchase program and to undertake rate increases are tied to a different criteria. the fomc's actions today are part of our ongoing efforts to support economic recovery and job creation, while maintaining price stability. monetary policy has its limits. only the private and public sectors working together can get the u.s. economy fully back on track. in particular, it will be critical the fiscal policy makers come together soon to achieve longer-term fiscal sustainability without the policies that could derail the ongoing economy -- the recovery of the ongoing --
11:45 am
the ongoing recovery of the economy. i will take your questions i am from asset -- msnbc. i will offer of two questions. why are there different targets for q.e. and what does that achieve? secondly, what about the difference in the calendar dates? do you have to keep doing that from now on to make it clear? and then you have another paragraph after that that says it is not just started to something else. it is unclear what good these targets are if you have to reference a calendar date. and then you say it is not really in reference to the targets. >> as i said, the asset purchases and the rate increases have different objectives. the asset purchases are about
11:46 am
creating some near-term momentum in the economy, trying to score -- trying to strengthen job growth and creation in the near term. any increases in the federal funds rate targets, when they occur, are about reducing accommodation. their objectives. secondly, the asset purchases, will be learning over time how advantageous they are and any unintended consequences that they might create. and we will be seen what else happens in the economy that could affect the level of unemployment, for example, that we hope to achieve. for that reason, as i discussed in my opening remarks, we decided to make the criteria for asset purchases qualitative at this time. we have a number of different things we need to look at as we go forward.
11:47 am
rate increases, by contrast, are well understood. and we understand the relationship between those and increases and the state of the economy. and we have been able to give somewhat more specific guidance in that respect. with respect to the date in the transition, we wanted to make clear that the change in guidance happens to be the case. it does not change our mid-2015 expectation. going forward, we will drop the date and rely on the conditionality. i think that is a very important advantage. if news comes in that the economy is stronger or weaker, then the public and financial markets will be able to adjust their expectations of four when policy tightening will occur without the committee having to go through a process of changing its stake in a non-transparent
11:48 am
way. i think that is -- changing its dates in a non- transparent way. i think that is beneficial. >> mr. chairman, what prompted the committee to make the decision at this particular time to specify targets? and by taking an unemployment rate that is quite low compared to currently, does that shift the balance of priorities in terms of your dual mandate more in the direction of reducing unemployment rather than inflationary pressures? >> that is a very good question. we took the change today after a good bit of the session. we had a substantial discussion of the threshold approach at our last meeting. we felt it was ready to go.
11:49 am
it was ready to put out. while there are different views on the aspects of the approach, there is a lot of agreement that having a more explicit connection between rate policy and the state of the economy was more transparent and helpful to the markets and to the public than our date-based guidance. there was a general view that we should switch to the kind of guidance. we do hope it will be more helpful and give markets more information about how we are going to respond going forward. it is not a change in our relative balance toward and of -- and toward inflation or unemployment, by any means. we remained completely committed to our 2% longer run the objective. we expect our forecast, as you can see from our summary of economic projections, our forecast will remain for
11:50 am
inflation, despite the threshold of 2.5%, that it will remain at or below 2% going forward. and finally, the threshold that we have put out are entirely consistent with our long standing views of what the rate path has to be, what the path of interest rates has to be in order to achieve improvement in the labour market while keeping inflation closer to target. there is no real change in policy. instead, it is an attempt to clarify the relationship between policy and economic conditions. >> could i ask also, given that your economic projections are all the more important now, that you have specified these targets.
11:51 am
it is a difficult to put forward these projections, given the uncertainty of the fiscal cliff? how plastic are these? >> are you talking about the sep projections? >> yes. >> clearly, the fiscal clift is having an effect on the economy. even though we have not yet reached the point of the fiscal could potentially kenyan, it is already -- kicking in, it is already affecting business decisions with hiring or just creating pessimism. huizar recent revisions were consumer sentiment failed because of fears of the fiscal cliff. this is a major risk factor and a major source of uncertainty about the economy going forward. i suspect, and although the participants do not make this explicit, but i suspect that they are assuming in their projections that the fiscal
11:52 am
cliff gets resolved in some way where there is still some fiscal drag, but not as much as implied by the entire fiscal cliff. that is the assumption that most people took when they made their projections. you are right, there is a lot of uncertainty right now. if the fiscal cliff is resolved very differently from our expectations for mine sure you would see changes in the forecast. -- from our expectations, i'm sure you would see changes in the forecast. >> could you talk about whether the decision to maintain the bond purchases of $85 billion per month represents a revving up for an additional easing of the fed policy? because now you are going to be adding more to the balance sheet. and also, you talked about
11:53 am
maintaining asset purchases until you see a substantial movement in the labour market. and you have said they want to take a different approach, but you also want to relieve this 6.5% unemployment rate. can you talk about what you are doing to slow the rate of purchases? >> the second part of your question is -- ? >> and what you see additional slowing of purchases? gregg's know, i think this is what we talked balance of deborah. we expressed dissatisfaction in the labour market. we began purchases. and we said that since -- unless we saw a substantial improvement in the labour market, we would undertake asset purchases. that is what we have done today, simply follow through on what we said we would do in september. relative to last month, i do not think we have substantially added to accommodation.
11:54 am
in my view, and for many of my colleagues, what might -- what matters primarily is the mix of assets on the asset shot of the balance sheet. -- the asset side of the balance sheet. what is important is that we're working with treasury securities and m.d.s., you know, taking those out of the market. that is where the stimulus comes from, not so much the size of the balance sheet exactly. from my judgment, the stimulus amount is more less the same. it is a follow-through from what we saw in september. in terms of criteria, we have done is announced an initial amount of $85 billion per month of purchases. the we are prepared to bury that as new information comes in puritan for example, -- we're prepared to vary that as
11:55 am
new information comes in. for example, we could rent down as we see a change in the level of purchases. but the problem is, giving a specific number -- there are multiple criteria in which we look at this decision. will be looking at the outlook on the labour market. it is very important. but we will be looking also at other factors that could affect the market -- the economy. if the fiscal clift occurs, i do not think the federal reserve has the tools to offset that event. in that case, we have to temper our expectations about what we can accomplish. likewise, we will be looking at the efficacy and cost of our program. we expected to be efficacious, but if we find it is not working as well as we had hoped and there are various cost emerging that we did not anticipate, that would be taken to account.
11:56 am
-- taking into account. we do not know precisely what would define a substantial improvement, but obviously, as long as costs and others -- other concerns do not emerge, will be looking for something that is substantial in terms of a better job market. >> peter cook with bloomberg television. to follow up on your last response there, given the fiscal cliff, is it possible that if policymakers were not to agree to some sort of deficit deal by the end of this year and we were to go over the fiscal ", that the size of these asset purchases could grow in response? you going to the phrase fiscal cliff. i wanted to get your take on whether it is the most appropriate language on what will be happening at the beginning of the year. some americans may be alarmed.
11:57 am
some economists feel it is more of a slope. do you feel it is still an appropriate term if there is no deal? >> to the first part of your question compaq if the economy actually went off the fiscal cliff, our assessment, the cbo assessment, outside assessment do not feel it will have a very adverse affect on the economy. on the margin commodity we would -- on the margin, we would try to work on that just a bit. but we cannot offset the full impact of the fiscal cliff. it is just too big, given an tools that we are -- how available. -- given the tools that we have available. in terms of the terminology, people have different preferences on what they want to call things. i think is a sensible, term, because i think of the fiscal
11:58 am
policies in support to the economy, if they become a contraction eric, i think the economy will go off a cliff. i think there is reason to be concerned. i do not buy the idea that a short-term descent of the fiscal cliff would be not costly. i think it would be. in fact, i think we are already seeing costs. why is it that consumer confidence dropped show -- so sharply this week? why is it that small business dropped so sharply? why are the market's volatile? white house business investment been among its -- why is business investment among its weakest levels? a lot of this can be traced to the anticipation and concern about the fiscal cliff. we do not know exactly what would happen. but there is a risk that it could be serious. therefore, i think is very important and the most helpful
11:59 am
thing that the congress and the administration can do right now is to find a resolution. on the one hand, achieve long run sustainability, which is critical for a healthy economy. but also, avoid. derailing the recovery, which is currently -- avoid derailing the recovery, which is currently in process. >> you have been watching a portion of federal reserve chairman ben bernanke's press conference from late last week. if you missed any of this portion or would like to watch the entire breaking, -- briefing, go to our video library at some news on the fiscal cliff coming out of washington, the ap reports and the white house confirmed that house speaker john boehner is out a 1600

Politics Public Policy Today
CSPAN December 17, 2012 10:00am-12:00pm EST


Network CSPAN
Duration 02:00:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 91 (627 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 704
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color
disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 12/17/2012